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What is your preference for site funding?

  • Donations from members

    Votes: 3 42.9%
  • Advertising revenue

    Votes: 3 42.9%
  • Other (please leave a response with alternative method)

    Votes: 1 14.3%

  • Total voters
    7

Katie

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I have been funding the operation and marketing for this site out of my own personal income since December. We have grown substantially and continue to do so. The number one objective of this site is to reach and help as many people as possible. One method we have employed to reach people is marketing. Marketing, of course, has costs associated with it.

Starting November 1, there will be additional taxes placed on marketing material published in certain key markets in which we have had strong growth. The UK and Austria will both be adding 5% regulatory fees to such transactions.

With the turn of a new year coming with the need to renew our site's domain name and hosting plan, plus the introduction of new regulatory fees, I am attempting to be proactive in squelching cost escalation.

As you have likely noticed, I have given Google AdSense a try. Some seem not to mind it, while others are vocally opposed to it. Some have made offers in the past to contribute toward the operation of the site. When the site was first conceived, the ambition was for a self-sustaining site where no financial burden would ever be placed on the members. Accepting donations from members would be a significant departure from the original intent for the site. However, it might be the best option for keeping all members content.

Please vote and comment on the poll to express your opinion on the matter. Even though we started this site with certain intentions, it is a dynamic site and the needs of the members is more important than anything else.
 

Monica

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Not to pass the buck but I'm open to either or both. I'm opposed to you funding everything Katie. That is not right!
 

Katie

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Not to pass the buck but I'm open to either or both. I'm opposed to you funding everything Katie. That is not right!

I have been happy to do so up to this point, but with costs rising it is time to develop a plan for keeping the site sustainable without my funding.
 

Donica

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I would be fine with what ever decision is decided upon.
 

Michelle_P

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I like the idea of advertising to fund, and ads if decently targeted could actually be useful in introducing folks to friendly businesses.

That said, member funding is OK, too. I make regular Patreon donations for writers and artists I like, and pay for access to news publishers and writing communities like Medium. I pay dues to clubs and associations, and don’t see a real difference here.
 

Linde

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I like the idea of advertising to fund, and ads if decently targeted could actually be useful in introducing folks to friendly businesses.

That said, member funding is OK, too. I make regular Patreon donations for writers and artists I like, and pay for access to news publishers and writing communities like Medium. I pay dues to clubs and associations, and don’t see a real difference here.
Michelle, when Katie, jillian and I first discussed about creating the forum, we wanted to make sure that our members do not feel any obligation to pay money to keep the forum alive. With other words, we did not want to be like the other side and start to solicit our members for money, and put them onto a monthly guild trip.
I wish we could find a way, to create a reliable revenu stream, which would pay for the cost running this forum. I would be OK with absolute free will donations to fund specific projects that are beneficial for the members. One of such services could be the integration of video software for our meetings.
The current Zoom license was bought by Allie with her own money.
We cannot request members of the management team to fund parts of our services for ever. I hope we get great ideas how we can achieve the goal to finance the forum and continue with its growth and improve the services more and more.

Hugs
Linde
 

OzGirl

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In practice, passive donations won't fund the site on their own, and neither will google ads. So we also need to be looking for other forms of funding like grants from government or benefactors. If any of you know of any possible sources of revenue, please tell us. This site has evolved way past software and a few likeminded people chatting. We have a real supportive community here, and many members, including many of those who don't post, rely on this site for information and support. TransRefuge is providing a significant community service and deserves to be supported. Nobody here ever intends to make any money from this site, but the reality is that it needs funds to continue.

Hugs,

Allie
 

Katie

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Some are poor, and must scrimp and save for anything they desperately need

This was exactly my concern early in the planning stages for this site. Transgender people are not known for being financially well off. Placing additional pressure to give money they need for basic survival is something that greatly concerns me. If a donation system is implemented, I think we all can agree that making sure nobody feels pressured to donate is very important.
 

Katie

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@OzGirl makes a great point. I don't expect the advertising to be license to print money. If my guesstimate is anywhere close to accurate, it might bring in $50-$75 per month. I will know more once some commission data becomes available for the site. Google does not publish CPM commission schedules, so I can only make an educated guess that the CPM commission rate is probably around $1.00 per thousand impressions.
 

Kenna

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I'm very reluctant to give support to monopolies like Google where it can be avoided.

I've noticed En Femme's ad, and it doesn't bother me at all, so I guess that I'm happy with directly arranged advertising, but much less so if it's through Google or other big agencies.

I'm happy to make a modest contribution every now and then and to help inform this I'd be very happy if you were able to provide a statement each quarter of anticipated expenses in the coming quarter and transrefuge's cash in hand. A transparent system like this might help avoid some of the suspicion and nastiness that I've seen elsewhere. I think it's best if there's no public acknowledgement of those who make contributions.

Katie, makes a huge contribution to this site in time and expertise, so I think that it is wrong that she has to make any financial contributions at all! Let's see what modest advertising and quiet voluntary contributions can do. By being transparent about it we'll know if other steps need to be taken.

-Kenna
 

Linde

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I've noticed En Femme's ad, and it doesn't bother me at all, so I guess that I'm happy with directly arranged advertising, but much less so if it's through Google or other big agencies.

-Kenna
Kenna, EnFemme and similar sites give us a kickback on what is bought there, and members seems not very hot about buying a lot there.

Hugs
Linde
 

Marie62

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Katie,
I am sorry, but this is completely intolerable to me. I will not have Google bleed me for advertising information on a site where I discuss my innermost gender identity and sexual orientation stuff and related problems.
I am not opposed to affiliate marketing like the En Femme one as long as they do not get information on me from you without me visiting them, but if this Google Ads type marketing stays on the site, I will delete my account and leave.
As you will recall, a couple of months back I had suggested to install a donation component on the site and I had offered to even pay for the component and its upkeep and to donate a steady amount each month. I still stand by that offer, basically anything to keep Google Ads off the site!
Hugs,
Marie
I am copying the post I wrote in Katie‘s „trying new marketing stuff“ thread over to here, since I sense that this thread was prompted much if not mostly by my reaction over there.

I will not comment on my own post here, but do want to say that I am violently opposed to having advertising on a site that is as sensitive in nature as TransRefuge is. I am also not *only* in favor of donations, there are other options, such as memberships, grants, etc. and we should explore all.

I and all of us are here because we deviate from the norm in a socially significant way and with respect to gender, the very underlying foundation of our societies. With this being a support site, we share sensitive information with each other about ourselves, our gender issues and dysphoria, our emotional and oftentimes therapeutically relevant psychological health problems, our sexual orientation and sometimes also about sex practices. This is personal, sensitive and intimate Information!

And while most of the content on TR is publicly viewable, it is an entirely different story if Joe Blow and Jane Doe, if so inclined, can view our content or if we allow an aggressive information harvester like Google Adsense onto ourselves, our souls, our weakest „bits“. Make no mistake, Google Adsense is no one way street and you are not merely being shown ads based on your previous online shopping, GA actively tracks your behavior on TR and the content visited here as well, it stores it, it analyzes it, it uses it, IT SELLS IT!

This has all sorts of possible side effects, such as your home computer showing your still unaware spouse „interesting“ content, your employer and colleagues “taking notice“, etc. In short, by allowing commercial players to harvest us, we allow them to govern our transition and coming out, to shape our social standing for us. Do we really want that, is there any way in which we can avoid them doing this for us? - NO and NO!

And when I then see Katie say that the projected income for TransRefuge from selling all of its members souls to Google will approx. be $50-$75 per month, I feel nausea rising!

I can fully relate to the concerns voiced by e.g. @LADY SARAH and nothing would pain me more than inadvertently creating a rift between members based on have and have not, but let me say that after being onboard for three months now, I have truly fallen in love with the overwhelming community spirit here at TR and that I honestly do not see something as base as pecuniary hypocrisy happening here.

To NOT have donations acknowledged, to NOT have open pleas for donations going on, such as the aggressive Wikipedia ones, to NOT have constant financial reporting shift the focus away from what we are here for (sorry @Kenna) to me would be the minimum standard for accepting donations from within. I cannot think of anyone here who would want to patronize others by giving and if we create a mission statement regarding financing we can also ensure that this stays that way even as TR grows.

This also includes word smithing ways to communicate about money and the possible need for „more“ on the site and amongst us. I am sure all of us agree that money is required to fund the service TR offers to us and that having Katie continue to pay for us (THANKS!) is not an option. But funding is required to give us a platform to help each other (and have fun) on and I am sure many of you would have suggestions for how to communicate with each other on this. I certainly have a couple of suggestions to make.

My offer to fund a donation component and to donate regularly might make it seem that I am one of the better off ones around here. This might have been true in the past, but believe me that this is far from true today, I am scrambling. So why the offer? Because I love TR and because I desperately want to avoid it becoming a commercial site with all the soul selling involved. And because like @Michelle_P I love giving for good causes and this is one ...(y)

And as a final note, let me say that the site sucks since there are ads all over! I count up to eight per page, I can‘t see shit, the posts all of a sudden seem totally disconnected and I get distracted by all that commercial garble big time! I hate it, I all of a sudden HATE being on here, don‘t do this to TransRefuge, please ...:eek:

Hugs,
Marie
 
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OzGirl

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Marie, this is precisely the kind of feedback we need, and I'm sure it will be influential. Katie had to trial AdSense so members could see what it looks like, and I'm glad you raised the collection of data issues. I love this site too, and especially that the Admins are happy to take these decisions to the members for their input. My zoom account is paid up until next June, but we also use Donica's zoom account, so I'm not the only member contributing. I would hope other avenues for funding can be found so we don't have to rely on donations and ads, The important thing is to protect our community!

Hugs,

Allie
 

TonyaJanelle

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Grants or a generous benefactor would be preferable though not sure how one finds those and how reliable they are for continued funding. I'm fine with ads as long as they're not to intrusive, but then I'm out every where so don't have the data mining issues.
Doesn't seem like they bring in enough money to be a significant revenue source.
That leaves member support. If it goes that way, I favor doing it as anonymously as possible. Definitely no official designation or public display of who does and therefore who does not donate. Members should also be discouraged from posting publicly about their donations.

I do think it would be ok for occasional one off fundraisers, such as getting the video software running.
 

Kenna

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@Marie62 I've read your post, including your initial one, a few times now and I think that what you're proposing is not that different to what I suggested. I was not proposing constant pleading, merely one thread, probably in Site Policies & Information or Announcements, updated quarterly for those who care to follow it to provide basic transparency. And I thought that I was pretty firm on the privacy of donations. I too, do not want to have Google trawling through and exploiting my posts. Fortunately I must have missed the AdSense trial; I've never seen more than the En Femme ad at the bottom of each page, which I find totally non-offensive, even though it apparently doesn't earn us much.

I also use the Firefox browser which has some built-in privacy features and a convenient extension tracker-blocker, Privacy Badger. It reports that it totally blocks www,google-analytics.com and pagead2.googlesyndication.com but is happy with enfemmestyle.com. This may have stopped me seeing some ads, but nobody knows what else Google does.

-Kenna
 
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Katie

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This has all sorts of possible side effects, such as your home computer showing your still unaware spouse „interesting“ content, your employer and colleagues “taking notice“, etc. In short, by allowing commercial players to harvest us, we allow them to govern our transition and coming out, to shape our social standing for us. Do we really want that, is there any way in which we can avoid them doing this for us?

This is influencing my decision more than anything else. I'm turning it off. @Marie62 makes a very good point. I will see what can be done for a donation system. Setting up the software portion of it should be simple, but coming up with an accountability system is going to take some thought.
 

KimOct

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I am open to anything EXCEPT @Katie funding this site. We don't get on the same threads often but I think it is so wonderful all of the work that she has put in for our benefit. She should not incur financial cost in addition to her efforts.

I am fine with any type of advertising because it may turn out to be useful to some people. I am going to have a very difficult 12 months financially but expect substantial improvement after that. That said I would also be willing to contribute $10 per month.
This is the best site I have been on out of a total of 4. What is developing here is very important and also enjoyable.

But Katie funding this site is not acceptable.
 

Marie62

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@Marie62 I've read your post, including your initial one, a few times now and I think that what you're proposing is not that different to what I suggested. I was not proposing constant pleading, merely one thread, probably in Site Policies & Information or Announcements, updated quarterly for those who care to follow it to provide basic transparency. And I thought that I was pretty firm on the privacy of donations. I too, do not want to have Google trawling through and exploiting my posts.
Kenna, I am sorry if I misunderstood or over interpreted what you meant to say, I meant no offense, sorry.
 

Confused

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I have been thinking about this for awhile myself, Katie. It is not right for you to fund all of this out of your own pocket. I am on fixed income, but you have several mouths to feed. Same goes for Allie and Donica's ZOOM. We all are getting something out of this site.

En Femme is OK and maybe similar things that are not intrusive to the site might be OK, but obviously they don't supply enough income. I'm with Kenna and Marie on organizations like Google. I don't think it is a good idea to let certain groups having any access to what is said here.

Like Marie and Kim, I have been on 2 other sites. I still visit them occasionally, but this one feels like home. I feel more comfortable talking openly here than anywhere else I have been. I consider some here almost like part of my family. I don't want to change that other than increasing the number of members.

I think we should have a way to donate anonymously as we can afford to. All of us have different income situations and some can't afford anything at all while others can. Just put a link somewhere for those that can.

I like Kenna's idea to provide a statement each quarter of anticipated expenses in the coming quarter and transrefuge's cash in hand. You can put it in the Site Policies & Information or somewhere else where it isn't in everybody's face, but we would know where to go. I am also for grants and fundraisers, but not sure how to tap into them.



Mike
 

Kenna

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@Marie62 Not a problem! No offense was taken.
-Kenna
 
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